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The aim of this manual is to enable the reader to diagnose the causes of engine bearing failure through visual inspection of the bearings. Depending upon the type of failure detected, recommendations are then given as to how to remedy the specific cause of damage. One has to keep in mind here that, in addition to ascertaining the appearance of damaged bearings, accurate diagnosis will necessarily call for further information both on the other components involved and on the precise operating conditions. A summary of the most common causes of bearing failure is provided below, although some failures will inevitably result from a combination of more than one cause.
1 -- DIRT
DIRT IN THE LUBRICATION SYSTEM DIRT ON BEARING BACK
2 -- OIL STARVATION MALFUNCTION IN THE LUBRICATION SYSTEM OIL SEAL FAILURE 3 -- MISASSEMBLY BEARING REVERSED REVERSED CON-ROD OR BEARING CAPS LOCATING LUGS NOT NESTED 4 -- IMPROPER MACHINING OF COMPONENTS. IMPROPERLY GROUND HOUSING (FACETED OR POLYGONAL) FILLET RIDE OUT-OF-SHAPE JOURNAL: HOUR-GLASS SHAPED, BARREL SHAPED OR TAPERED MISALIGNMENT OF SHAFT AND HOUSING INSUFFICIENT CRUSH 5 -- OVERLOADING 6 -- CORROSION 7 -- CAVITATION
While other causes of bearing failure do exist, they tend to occur less frequently and are therefore not listed here. In case of doubt, kindly contact our Product Engineering Department (Departamento de Ingeniería de Producto).
Recommendation: when repairing the engine. the bearing will exhibit a correspondingly lesser or greater degree of circumferential scratching and. ensure that the entire lubrication system is carefully cleaned .DIRT DIRT IN THE LUBRICATION SYSTEM The presence of dirt particles entrained in the lubrication system is one of the most frequent causes of bearing damage.1 -. The root of the problem is usually that the engine is not sufficiently clean. any debris that may have become embedded in the lining. usually. In line with the nature and size of the foreign particles.
.1 -. Recommendation: ensure that all housings in which bearings are to be seated. Signs of this will be seen in the area opposite the particle. along the inner surface of the bearing. are carefully cleaned prior to assembly. with the ensuing risk of contact between this protruding high-spot and the journal.DIRT DIRT ON BEARING BACK The presence of a foreign particle trapped between the bearing back and its housing will lead to a raised area. where there will be evidence of marked localized wear.
an oil pump malfunction. leading to metal-to-metal contact between the two parts. However an altogether more frequent phenomenon is fatigue due to oil starvation. .INSUFFICIENT LUBRICATION MALFUNCTION IN THE LUBRICATION SYSTEM A total absence of lubrication of the journal-bearing system leads to bearing seizure and. whereby the amount of oil reaching the journal-bearing system is insufficient to maintain the oil film. Prolonged operation under such conditions will also result in total destruction of the whole.2 -. to total destruction of the part. etc. normally. an improperly installed bearing. Recommendation: the lubrication system must be thoroughly checked in order to pinpoint the cause of failure. which may be a blocked oil passage.
as well as the two remaining pairs in the set.INSUFFICIENT LUBRICATION OIL SEAL FAILURE In the example shown in the photograph. a sign of oil starvation. only exhibit shiny areas. Recommendation: check for possible loss of oil at the seals and replace these wherever necessary. so that the other track of the bearing shells. . The circumferential oil groove acted as a barrier to the defect. due to the oil film rupturing as a result of loss of oil pressure. the failure of the crankshaft seal led to oil escaping at this point The track of the pair of bearing shells nearest the seal exhibits symptoms of seizure.2 -.
no lubrication can reach the crankpin via such oil holes.3 -. As a consequence. this effectively prevents that particular main journal receiving lubrication.g. it will be evident that the oil passage hole has been blocked off. e. From the bearing back. Recommendation: ensure that the utmost precaution is taken during the installation of new bearings and that the correct positioning of each is doublechecked . eventually leading to seizure of the bearing in question.MISASSEMBLY BEARING REVERSED Where a bearing having no oil hole is mistakenly fitted in a position in which it ought to have one.. in a case where the upper and lower seats of a pair of main bearing shells are inadvertently switched.
REVERSED CON-ROD OR BEARING CAPS LOCATING LUGS NOT NESTED .3 -. the following assembly errors tend to occur fairly often.MISASSEMBLY OTHER ASSEMBLY ERRORS When engines are being repaired. with evidence of excessive localized wear. Recommendation: ensure that each and every engine component is correctly installed. There will be areas where lubrication may be insufficient.
IMPROPERLY GROUND HOUSING (FACETED OR POLYGONAL) Where a housing bore becomes flawed due to engine vibration or some other cause that gives rise to marked out-of-roundness. Recommendation: check for correct grinding of shaft and housing .4 -. the bearing will tend to conform to the defective shape of its housing.IMPROPER MACHINING OF COMPONENTS. This defect can lead to metal fatigue. It will display alternating bands of heavy and normal wear.
the bearing exhibits signs of incipient damage. and will also hinder oil flow. the edge of the bearing may make metal-to-metal contact with the fillet. Recommendation: use a grindstone in perfect condition to achieve correct crankshaft geometry . FILLET RIDE If the radius of the fillet is increased during the course of a repair to the crankpin.4 -.IMPROPER MACHINING OF COMPONENTS. with its edge rounded from rubbing against the fillet. In the photograph.
thereby accelerating bearing wear in the most highly loaded regions due to uneven and inadequate lubrication. Visible in the figure is a damaged bearing that has been mounted on a partially tapered journal.IMPROPER MACHINING OF COMPONENTS. This means that the clearances and. Journals can be found with areas that are partially hourglass shaped. the load distribution will not be the same throughout the bearing surface. OUT-OF-SHAPE JOURNAL: HOUR-GLASS SHAPED. by extension. Recommendation: use a grindstone in perfect condition to achieve correct crankshaft geometry . BARREL SHAPED OR TAPERED If the grindstone suffers from excessive wear. barrel shaped or tapered. the crankshaft will conform to its errors of shape.4 -.
MISALIGNMENT OF SHAFT AND HOUSING There are a number of causes that give rise to misalignment of the crankshaft and cylinder-block housings. etc. distorted cylinder block.4 -.IMPROPER MACHINING OF COMPONENTS. bent crankshaft. such as improper machining. These defects result in localized wear. Recommendation: ensure that cylinder-block and crankshaft machining tolerances are in accordance with the engine manufacturer’s specifications . which tends to be greatest on some of the main bearings and less pronounced on others.
4 -.IMPROPER MACHINING OF COMPONENTS. discolorations or stains may appear. INSUFFICIENT CRUSH Total contact between the bearing back and housing is fundamental to ensure good heat transfer and a correct seating of the part. On other occasions. . evidence of burnt oil that has worked its way into the space between the two surfaces. Recommendation: ensure that the size of the housing bore and torquing are in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. If crush is insufficient. the bearing will move back and forth within the housing and shiny areas will be visible on the bearing back due to friction with the housing.
OVERLOADING Where operating conditions cause excessive load to be exerted upon the bearings. Similarly.5 -. ensure that engine-tuning conditions are respected . this leads to damage due to metal fatigue Recommendation: check that the assembly clearances and bearing material are as specified for the application in question.
6 – CORROSION Oil in poor condition can damage the bearing surface. and perform the scheduled oil changes as indicated in the vehicle maintenance manual. This effect is due to dilution of the lead in the alloy by certain of the compounds produced by oil degradation. Recommendation: always use the oil recommended by the manufacturer. .
that are affected by discontinuities in the oil flow.7 -. oil pressure drops locally. such as oil pressure. such as oil grooves or holes. producing vapour bubbles that cause damage to the bearing surface.CAVITATION Under certain operating conditions. This damage will be evident in certain bearing areas. flow rate and type. . Recommendation: check that lubrication conditions. are as stipulated by the vehicle manufacturer.